CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS RELATION TO THE FLUCTUATION IN GLACIER MASS BALANCE IN THE CORDILLERA BLANCA, PERU: A REVIEW
This review article describes the main probable causes of glacier fluctuations in the Cordillera Blanca since the end of the Little Ice Age. The Cordillera Blanca glaciers reached their last maximum extent during the Little Ice Age and have been retreating since the second half of the 19th century. The progressive glacier recession continued throughout the 20th century but was interrupted several times by periods of glacier advances. The last of these advances took place at the end of the 20th century. However, glacier advances were too short to compensate for the total glacier loss. The major phases of advance and retreat of glacier fluctuations have been well documented and climate changes seem to be their most probable drivers. However, interpreting the climatic forcing that causes such a change in the mass balance remains problematic. The response of tropical glaciers to climatic forcing is complex and glacier recession is likely to involve other components of the energy balance in thermally homogenous areas.